Staying focused sounds simple enough, but it's something a lot of  Brazilian jiu-jitsu students struggle with. Every aspect of training is valuable, but people often focus on the parts they enjoy most. It is important to arrive on time and participate in every part of the class: from warm-ups to drills and finally free training (sparring). Some students view warm-ups as boring, but warm-ups help develop the movement and reactions necessary to reaching the higher levels of the art. Drills and technical training are sometimes waxed over, as well, especially if it is material you have already been exposed to. Don’t rush through the drills just so you can say you did them. Take the time to do each repetition correctly. Pay attention to the little details. Remember this rule: The way you practice is the way you will perform. If your application is sloppy in practice, expect the same results when grappling against a resisting opponent. Learn to keep your focus during the entire class. Also, take advantage of the entire class. After one or two rounds of free training, students often give up from fatigue. Training when you are tired offers a wonderful opportunity to learn, and it's also a great mental challenge. When you only have a small window of time in your day to dedicate to your training, you should commit everything you have to it. Remember to focus on learning. You are a student first and foremost. In the era of YouTube, Facebook and other forms of social media, anyone can be a teacher. Don't spend all your time trying to “teach” your partners. That is the instructor’s job. It’s a great feeling to be able to share the knowledge you are gaining, but it can take away from your focus. There is nothing wrong with assisting a student who asks for your help, but leave the bulk of it for the instructor. I am fortunate to have trained exclusively at the Jean Jacques Machado Academy. Before I became a black belt, whenever someone asked me a question, I was always polite and appreciative when I told them, “This is how I would approach your problem, but let’s go ask Jean Jacques together so I can hear his response, as well.” This also gave me valuable insight into Jean Jacques' teaching abilities. I never strayed from the student mindset, and it helped me stay on my path toward earning a black belt. About the Author: Jay Zeballos is a Pan Jiu-Jitsu Championship 2009 gold-medalist black belt under Jean Jacques Machado. He has been training with him for more than a decade. Zeballos is also the co-author of The Grappler’s Handbook: Gi and No-Gi Techniques. His most recent book with Machado is The Grappler’s Handbook Vol. 2: Tactics for Defense.

SUBSCRIBE TO BLACKBELT MAGAZINE TODAY!
Don't miss a single issue of the world largest magazine of martial arts.

Do you want to maximize your self defense skills? Learn the game of combat chess and most importantly the queen of all moves.

Allow me to intercept those who would object to the title of this article. I'm not claiming that there's a secret move, shortcut or hack that will give you the edge in any fight. Even if there was an ultimate weapon or strategy, you likely would avoid it because you
Keep Reading Show less

Training in Hapkido, Watching Billy Jack and becoming a sheepdog

On the East Coast and West Coast, schools had been emerging and multiplying since the mid-1960s, but those of us who lived in "flyover country" had few opportunities to broaden our understanding of arts like karate, kung fu, judo and taekwondo.

At Union University in my hometown of Jackson, Tennessee, I'd been fortunate to train from 1969 to 1970 in the then little-known art of hapkido. In a field-house basement, a Korean student and former captain in the ROK Army known only as Mr. Suh organized and taught the system to a small group of dedicated students. Suh ran a no-nonsense traditional class, and for 10 months, we couldn't get enough of his instruction. Despite the bruises and the blood, we always looked forward to our next session.

Keep Reading Show less

Learn the mechanics and do the drills, then unleash the beast that is your round kick!

Because of its versatility and power, the round kick — known to some martial artists as the turning kick, the saber kick or the roundhouse kick — is one of the most common leg techniques in our world. No matter your particular interpretation, the basics are the same: You swing your leg along an arc until your foot or shin strikes the target.

Keep Reading Show less

How it stacks up agains 3 other go-to responses to an attack

In hand-to-hand combat, you face a constant and undeniable danger. Among other injuries, you can sustain broken bones, torn cartilage and ruptured organs. You also can be knocked unconscious or killed.Over the millennia, various cultures have developed their own techniques and strategies for dealing with such threats. One of the most pervasive is punching. That's the case because in most unarmed encounters, a properly thrown punch is the most efficient and effective tool a martial artist can use.

Keep Reading Show less
Don’t miss a thing Subscribe to Our Newsletter